Many of you within Occupy Oakland may know Josh who is a student from Chabot College who has been a blessing to Occupy Oakland in many ways over the past few months, from bringing food and clothes to helping many events work and facilitating many rides, and more. Well today, January 19th, Josh was at school in Hayward, CA passing out flyers for an Occupy Oakland action on Jan. 28th.
While passing out the flyers he was approached by campus security (one named Nathan Moore) and told that he could not pass out the flyers without registering with the Office of Student Life first. Upon that time Josh protested having to register because he was already a student at the school who actually pays for classes and he feels as if the 1st Amendment is his right to pass out flyers to those who are interested. When I spoke with Josh he told me he didn't want to pay a fee to hang the flyers up, because to hang flyers that are not associated with a club on campus costs money even if you are a student. Upon doing a little more research with the Office of Student Life I found out that there is no fee to pass out flyers. The interesting part is that they need a copy of my photo ID and the material I'm passing out. I find that disturbing because Occupy is a political movement. Not everyone wants their name and face documented with the movement for fear of the police showing up at their door. At that point, I not only understand but also respect a persons desire to remain anonymous at their discretion.
Knowing that this was very popular on twitter soon after Josh called me, I went to speak with the Director of campus Security at Chabot College, Keith W. Stiver and he said that Josh was told that he could not come back to the campus because of the dispute that he was having with the officers and the fact that he was refusing to go register with the Office of Student Life. I should take the time to say that Josh was standing outside the campus radio station (where he works) and was just passing out the flyers, he wasn't yelling but he was passing them out to people. Mr. Stiver says he welcomes any questions or comments and left me his contact information : 510-723-6663 or you can email him at email@example.com Anyway after being escorted off of campus Josh was then made aware of the fact that he would be contacted by Dean Gerald Shimada (which in my experience he has been a very reasonable man in the past) and he would be arrested by Hayward Police if he returns before that phone call. This is excessive, and didn't happen to me when I was suspended for almost having a more serious event on campus in the past.
Now, while I am not a fan of the way this situation was handled at all, and I do not agree that a student should have to leave a copy of their photo ID to pass out flyers when faculty does not have to. If it is going to be approved to pass out the flyers just tell me the appropriate time and place, this is something Mr. Stiver discussed with me. My thought on this was this is true, because the Supreme Court did give authority to authorize time and place for free speech, but I don't remember any stipulations about recording my identity to access that right. How is it that I can even afford to protest this as a student who is very close to graduating and cant afford to be kicked off of campus or suspended while trying to access my Constitutionally protected rights? This seems really similar to the systematic oppression that Occupy Oakland has been experiencing like the stay away orders from Frank Ogawa Plaza, in front of City Hall where they cannot access their own elected representatives. I'm not blaming the law enforcement here, I am blaming the system that has hired them to protect abusive processes on college campuses.
Do we need tents? I've never put up a tent even though I've spent countless hours every day at Occupy. So I'm not the one to ask that, but every time that conversation comes up there are some who will and some who won't agree with it. So I'm not going to answer that question, I'm going to let my viewers answer that for themselves. However, when asked the question should we reevaluate and protest this process my answer is yes. Hell yes even. Sorry, but my inner activist can't help but declare that I feel like this is some bullshit, and as a people we need to rise up against systematic oppression. However, I also embrace diversity of tactics. There are many ways to protest and reach a goal, and putting tents up in Hayward could solidify more of a working relationship between the Oakland Police Department and Hayward Police Department, which Occupy really does not want to happen. With Berkeley Police Department declaring no more mutual aid to Oakland, and Richmond Police Department seemingly following suit (a little slower but they are on their way) we don't need to make the Oakland Police Department be solidified in any of their now deemed wasteful and abusive practices. I just ask for this to be thought of for whomever is planning actions for Chabot because I know that they are coming and I don't oppose them.